Please identify some of the figures of speech in the poem "Barter" by Sara Teasdale.

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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The primary figure of speech in Sara Teasdale's "Barter" is personification: the assignment of human traits and activities to non-human entities.

The entire poem is based on the idea that "life has loveliness to sell."  "Life," of course, is not a person that can literally sell something, lovely or not.  The poet is speaking about life as if it were a human being that has something to sell. 

A secondary personification is in line 4: "Soaring fire that sways and sings."

Some other figures of speech in this poem are:

Simile (comparisons that use the word "like" or "as"):

  a) "Children's faces looking up, / Holding wonder like a cup."

   b) "Music like the curve of gold"

Anaphora (repetition of phrases):

  a) "Life has loveliness to sell" (at the beginning of stanzas 1

        and 2)



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